Will it be hard to start acting at 30+?

by John
(Seattle)

QUESTION:

I'm 32, and after having finished college and tried working for a few years I find myself constantly thinking about a career in acting.

However, I have a few things I feel count against me. I'm 32, 6'3, and have a few extra pounds. I am working on the weight issue. My question is, at 32 and being unsure regarding my looks, will it be hard for me to conceivably make a living as an actor? I understand that a passion should be pursued. But I also worry about paying the bills! Acting takes commitment, which means a backup career path can be easily neglected. Is there a chance for some level of success as an actor if you don't start in your 20s?

ANSWER:

There's always a chance to succeed in an acting career. Some just has to do with luck and some with what you will consider success. It's tough at any age to be an actor, although I tend to think it's particularly hard in your mid-twenties to mid-thirties because you're competing with so many people at that age, some of which have much more experience. When you start in your teens, your resume is not as big a factor and when you start after 40, a lot of actors who have experience or now in the union, so as a beginner, you have more opportunities to audition for smaller non-union roles to build your resume. That's just my opinion, others may feel differently.

One thing is for sure, though. If you're a character actor, that's a good thing, because you're not going to go for lead roles at first, and when they need a big tall guy, you're more likely to get called in. It seems a lot of people think you have to look like a model to be an actor. That's not true at all. Look at movies and TV series and you'll start to notice how many actors just look like regular people. Look at castings for commercials. More and more, they just want "real people", "real moms and dads", etc. If you have a special skill you've acquired from your previous career, mention it on your resume. It could help.

Also browse through the Q&A pages on this website. Many other aspiring actors have asked this question about age and it may help. The bottom line is many actors who started in their 20s still don't make a living, so committing full-time to an acting career is a very tough decision at any age. Maybe you could try to do it part-time for a year and see where it takes you? Either way, good luck and I hope this helped a little.

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